In D.C. v. Petco Animal Supplies Stores, the court determines the liability of a pet store owner in a case where a customer’s pet dog bites a child in the store. This case may impact not only pet stores where customer pets are routinely permitted, but other types of stores and venues where there is a trend toward becoming more “pet-friendly.”
On January 23, 2006, plaintiff Christian took her two children to defendant pet store, Petco, in order to buy supplies. Defendant Coughlin was also shopping at the same pet store. He had with him his 8-9-month-old Rottweiler puppy that he had adopted from an animal shelter just ten days earlier. The dog exhibited a great disposition and Coughlin was in the process training with the puppy. After coming from the animal shelter, the puppy had contact with children. The puppy had visited the pet store before the incident and had not exhibited any aggressiveness or territorial barking.
On that day at the pet store, plaintiff Christian asked Coughlin if her daughters could pet his puppy. The puppy was on a leash. Coughlin agreed. While Coughlin and Christian chatted, her children patted the dog. Suddenly the Rottweiler lunged and bit one of Christian’s daughters in the mouth causing her injury.